Maryland survives a ninth-inning scare, hangs on to win the series in Orlando behind a gem from Kyle McCoy

Ahead in the count 1-2, Kyle McCoy delivered a sweeping back foot slider that Andrew Sundean swung through for the first out of the seventh inning. It was a perfectly executed pitch, which was a common theme for McCoy on Sunday in a dominant outing that helped Maryland secure the series win over UCF with an 8-6 victory at John Euliano Park despite a ninth-inning scare.

McCoy was lights-out all afternoon, mowing down a strong Knights lineup that was tied for seventh in Division I in home runs entering the weekend. McCoy routinely pounded the strike zone, getting ahead in counts, allowing him to go to his wipeout slider which generated a ton of whiffs. He tossed eight scoreless innings on just three hits, and struck out nine while walking none.

It was the second consecutive scoreless start for the freshman left-hander, who continues to impress in his first season in College Park. McCoy picked up his second win of the season, lowering his ERA to 2.81.

After both pitchers faced the minimum through three innings, Matt Woods broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth with an RBI single to right field. Woods collected the first RBI of the game in all three games this weekend.

McCoy did not allow a baserunner until the fifth inning when a two-out single dropped just in front of Jacob Orr in center field. McCoy retired the next batter on a soft grounder to end the inning.

Despite McCoy’s dominance, UCF starter Jacob Marlowe kept the home team in it for most of the game. A 1-0 game entering the sixth inning, Nick Lorusso led off with a single and Matt Shaw followed with a monster two-run blast to left field.

Maryland delivered what seemed to be a knockout blow in the top of the eighth, and it came from a familiar source. Shaw got every stitch of a 2-0 fastball, crushing it over the wall in left center field and extending the lead to 5-0. It was the shortstop’s second home run of the day and his third in the last two games. Later in the inning, Woods came home on a wild pitch and Jacob Orr dropped an RBI single into center field to push the advantage to 7-0.

McCoy finished his outing with a pair of strikeouts and a flyout in the eighth, and the Terps added another run in the ninth courtesy of back-to-back doubles from Lorusso and Shaw to make it 8-0.

The Terps seemed to be cruising to a stress-free win on a hot afternoon in Orlando, but it turned out to be anything but that. David Falco Jr. came in for the ninth inning and retired the first batter he faced, but then allowed five straight Knights to reach base. 

Suddenly, Nigel Belgrave entered an 8-2 game with the bases loaded and one out. The first batter he faced was Drew Faurot, who crushed a grand slam to left field to get UCF within two runs. After a two-out double on a check swing, Andrew Brait stepped up to the plate representing the tying run. UCF’s hopes of a miraculous comeback would not come to fruition, however; Belgrave induced a routine fly ball to center field on the first pitch of the at-bat, securing the win for the Terps.

The win is Maryland’s 10th in its last 12 games. Their record now stands at 14-9, and they will return home to host Georgetown on Tuesday before traveling to Iowa City next weekend to begin Big Ten play.